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Recycle your roof and the sky’s the limit!

November 9, 2007 at 8:48 am

Recyclenow are making an effort to justify their slogan of the possibilities are endless with a new recycling initiative.

Vinyl roofs made from PVC that are currently keeping the rain off our homes can actually be recycled and reused for various household and industrial purposes. The durable material from old roofs can be melted down and then made into things such as speed-bumps, curbs on pavements in car-parks and various other places where tarmac is used. The PVC membrane is also very useful as lining for carpets, traffic cones, road signs and barriers.

The business of roof recycling is thriving in Europe but here in the UK we are lagging behind somewhat. Gordon Harris, the Managing Director of Advanced Roofing, who are trying to lead the charge, said: “My view is that people who use the stuff will make this scheme work. Advanced Roofing currently recycles all its PVC waste. We know there are recyclers who will take all the membrane waste we can give them. If enough roofing companies take part, then I’m sure we could organise a workable collection system.”

The reason this hasn’t been a pressing concern for these roofing companies and for the individual home-owner is because the life-span of the PVC based material on the roof is around 50 years. So, for the most part, they are still up there and doing their job. In the next 10 or so years, however, this will all change and companies such as Advanced Roofing are urging us to be ready in time.

Mr Harris plans for the process of recycling to operate on a ‘chain’ type of system, or as he puts it, a ‘milk-round’. The roof cells will be gathered up by roofers and then stockpiled until enough is stored to necessitate another contractor then taking it away to be recycled. This will prevent the 1% that is currently already going to landfill becoming any higher.

This is a slow-burning area of the recycling world and, for the time being, it can afford to be this way to some extent. But within the next decade the after-life of old PVC roofs will shorten, they will need to be disposed of, and it will then become another recycling responsibility for us all.

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